October 07, 2022

Every choice in life, there is a “man behind the scenes”?

When it’s time to eat, many people will find themselves in a dilemma, “What to eat for lunch today?” is what we say to friends almost every day.

There are too many decision-making moments in life, ranging from choosing food, buying food from the vegetable market, to preparing for a wedding, buying a house and buying a car, and in many cases, we are not alone in making decisions. We have to consider our companions, consider others…

What will quietly influence our decision-making? Take everyone to explore together.

-01- Topic 1: What would others choose? Your guesses always overestimate universality

When a banquet host prepares desserts, he needs to figure out how many ice creams or tiramisu to prepare in advance;

The shoe seller must figure out how many black or blue new shoes should be put on the shelf;

Movie theaters must also consider whether to put mainstream blockbusters or high-quality niche movies in larger theaters.

Too many times we need to guess and understand the preferences of others in advance before making a decision.

But we often imagine what most people would like and what they would choose based on our own experience and our own preferences. This phenomenon is called the common fallacy.

The commonality fallacy is a widespread social judgment error, just like we guess the preferences of others based on our own preferences, when making difficult judgments, we often rely on commonality and feel that other people will be attracted to common things.

Emily S. Reit of Stanford University and Clayton R. Critcher of Berkeley University conducted in-depth research on the common fallacy of predicting the choices of others. [1]

The researchers selected 11 pairs of opposing items and asked 110 undergraduates from the University of California at Berkeley to choose between the two, such as “If you have the following two juice drinks to choose for breakfast tomorrow, which one would you choose? “A orange juice (considered common) B passion fruit juice (considered rare)”, while predicting which one the other participants would choose.

Experiments have shown that compared to the rare but exciting choice of passion fruit juice, people will overestimate the number of common and common choices like orange juice.

In other words, the common ones are not necessarily more interesting to people; and the niche ones are not unpopular.

Furthermore, the researchers determined that the historical choices of the self, the ease of recall, and the typical judgment are the reasons for the common fallacy. It’s just like everyone’s impression that I eat ice cream more often than tiramisu, and it’s easy to think that there are definitely more people watching American blockbusters and buying black shoes is a normal choice.

For merchants, if they rely on commonality to make decisions, they will make wrong prices and reduce profits.

But fortunately, when people consciously reflect, they will abandon the commonality and turn to more normal and reasonable predictions.

-02- Topic 2: Think about each other in everything, will the result be more satisfying?

When parents watch TV at home, it often appears that mother wants to watch TV dramas and father wants to watch a ball game. Both of them do not compromise. Finally, the remote control is tuned to the music station. Both of them feel that listening to music is also a success, so they just play the phone and listen to the song. Come……

There are many scenarios where you have to make decisions together with others, such as choosing which movies to watch and which restaurants to go to with your partner… Everyone’s preferences are not always the same. Then you will consider yourself or the other party first?

Michael Lowe and other four American university researchers gave answers on common decision-making in daily life. [2]

In Study 1, the researchers selected 151 undergraduates (53.6% were girls), first tested their “self-interested” level, and then rated and ranked 15 live broadcasts on Saturday nights.

Then randomly pair the participants, give each pair of participants a list of 7 videos, let them choose a video to watch together, and finally test their attitude towards the video they watched.

Then in study two, the researchers narrowed the range of available videos to seven, recruited 316 undergraduates (46.6% were women), and randomly placed participants with high self-interest scores and high altruistic scores into one. Group, let them choose a video to watch together, and use the camera to record the interactive process.

In order for them to make a choice that is self-interested or altruistic, the researchers asked more self-interested people to read a news article that reads “Those who make decisions considering their own interests are happier”; at the same time, altruistic people read “Those who make decisions considering the interests of their partners are happier.”

Then ask them, “Whose interests do you consider when making a decision about which video to put together?”

The results show that, compared to a situation where one party is self-interested and the other party is altruistic, both parties are self-interested or both parties are altruistic, and they are more likely to make decisions that deviate from the original intention of both parties.

In other words, if one of the two people considers themselves more and the other considers others more, there is no contradiction, but once two people think about themselves, or both think about each other, the decision made by neither of them very satisfied.

It turns out that everyone is good old, and it may not be possible for everyone to be happy.

-03- Topic 3: When compromise products are out of stock, will you consider quality or price?
When we travel, an important part is to book a hotel in advance. Within the budget, how would you choose high-end hotels, convenient hotels, and ordinary hotels?

We may be able to realize that in many cases, the intermediate options (either good nor bad, not expensive nor cheap) make people feel safer and less likely to make mistakes, because the “compromise solution” reduces decision-making conflicts. When making decisions, there will be less anxiety, worry, and regret.

But if this compromise option is out of stock, new anxiety and entanglement will strike again. What determines our choice at this time?

Recently, a study published in the top domestic psychology journal “The Journal of Psychology” analyzed consumers’ choices when compromised products were out of stock. [3]

A total of 3 options were set in the study:

Option A: Low price and low performance products

Option B: A compromise product with medium price and medium performance

Option C: High-performance products with high price

Based on these three options, the researchers set up three experimental groups:

1. Choose between ABC and ABC (referred to as “three selection group”);

2. I saw all the product information of options A, B, and C, but I was told that product B was out of stock, and I could only choose between the remaining options A and C (called “compromise option unavailable group”) ;

3. Only see the product information of option A and option C, and choose between the two (called “control group”).

Participants were 382 undergraduates (182 males) from Tsinghua University. They were randomly assigned to these three experimental groups and faced two situations of buying a digital camera and renting a car.

For example, “Suppose you plan to buy a digital camera. You are interested in the following three models and decide to choose one of them. Please read the product information carefully and make a purchase decision. Which one would you buy?”

It turns out that when compromise options are not available, people tend to choose lower-priced alternatives.

Next, the researchers further experimented to show that when everyone listened to the professional evaluation of the product quality by experts, or some people were very “knowledgeable”, the quality of the product became clear, and the possibility of choosing low-priced alternatives Reduced.

Just like a person who fully understands the mobile phone market and performance, he knows exactly what he wants to buy, and he won’t be anxiously entangled at the counter, worrying about regretting it.

Finally, I hope that after understanding the mysterious “forces” behind decision-making, you will have a better understanding of yourself, others, and consumption.

Just like sometimes frank communication is better than guessing each other’s thoughts, and it can also avoid the situation of “good intentions doing bad things”.